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Since my divorce from her father, my teenage daughter has been dealing with depression. The divorce was not amicable, as there was infidelity involved, and we have both basically lost a husband and a father, leaving it be just the two of us on our own.
We have opted to not use any medications, at this time, but instead are trying a more holistic, alternative approach, as she is very averse to using any type of drugs.
I would like to know if there are more natural, possibly osteopathic ways, I can help her manage her depressive symptoms? We’ve started looking at yoga and meditation, as well as she is in counseling once a week.
I just feel like I should be doing more. Any words of wisdom?
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You both are going through a difficult time. You have lost a partner and it might have shaken your trust on relationships. As an adolescent it might have been more traumatic for your daughter because girls usually idealize their father as their hero.
Experiencing grief, stress or anxiety in such situation is quite normal. I think first step towards healing is to embrace your emotional pain. Allow yourself and your daughter to feel sad yet assured that you both have each other’s back.
Sometimes fighting your feelings becomes more debilitating. Sit down with your daughter and talk about this transition. Discuss how staying on with such toxic relation might have impacted your lives and similarly how having lingering feelings can take a toll on your mental health. Allow her to cry her heart out, scream, get angry and share her pent up emotions.
After experiencing such trauma many teenagers can bounce back to normality with appropriate emotional support. In your case, it is essential that you take good care of your mental health so you can be there for your daughter.
Reading stories or watching videos of teenagers who came out strong after facing similar situation can be a good source of motivation. If you feel that your girl is not opening up to you, taking peer support (from her close friends) might be helpful.
Don’t worry, it is a difficult time it will pass.
**If symptoms persist or get worse, please do consult a doctor or psychologist.
I am so sorry to hear about the end of your marriage. When a divorce is acrimonious and infidelity is involved, many aspects come into play including the pain of betrayal and issues around trust. I hope you are taking the time you need to be kind to yourself.
Adjusting to a new "normal" after a major life change can be difficult. You daughter is most probably dealing with issues of feeling abandoned and betrayed by her dad (just as you are). I'm glad to hear that she is in counselling to help her deal with her emotions in a constructive ways.
Mindfulness - being in the present - is one way of managing some of the symptoms of depression. Breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, gentle exercise, and body awareness are all good ways of practicing mindfulness. People who are depressed often feel that there is no point to life. Volunteering or getting involved in a community activity can help provide a sense of purpose and also create opportunities for connection. Having a good routine is also important, especially when all you want to do is crawl up under the duvet and stay in bed. Making sure that you do all the small things you routinely do, like getting up, brushing teeth, taking a shower etc. can help you to get going on the tough days.
In closing, please remember that depression is an illness (even when it is a "situational" depression) and sometimes medication is necessary to get us beyond the crisis point. If your daughter's depression persists, please let her see a doctor who can recommend medication to take for a short period of time while she builds the resilience required to navigate this challenge.
I don't have much experience in this field in terms of kids but I will say that I handle my own depression by keeping busy. I don't think that being overly active is just a band-aid, either. When I get involved with projects and especially with other people, it keeps my mind off of unhelpful negative thoughts, it fills me with sense of purpose and it makes me feel less alone. And often, if I choose activities that make me happy, I find it to be fun! Again, I'm no expert but lots of depression (maybe aside from clinical depression) comes from inner turmoil, an inner sense of self-doubt, a lack of confidence. I think surrounding your kid with people and activities that she likes would be something to try anyway. It may not be a magic wand, but it wouldn't affect her negatively either.